Wada Receives 2013 Jason Morgan Early Career Award

Ikuko Wada received the 2013 Jason Morgan Early Career Award at the 2013 AGU Fall Meeting, held 9–13 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is for significant early-career contributions in tectonophysics.


wada_ikukoThe AGU Tectonophysics section is pleased to present the fifth Jason Morgan Early Career Award to Ikuko Wada for her research using numerical modeling coupled with geochemical and geophysical observations to understand processes associated with subduction. It is often stated that there is need for interdisciplinary approaches to advance the state of knowledge in subduction zone structure, dynamics, and island arc geochemistry, and Ikuko’s research exemplifies how interdisciplinary research advances understanding.

In her Ph.D. work, Ikuko constrained the stress state and thermal regime for intermediate-depth earthquakes and provided an explanation for the formation of the now well-established “cold corner” in the forearc mantle wedge. As a postdoctoral researcher, Ikuko developed new research directions, including investigating how the spatial distribution of water in the incoming slab influences the pattern of slab dehydration during subduction; studying the influence of grain size evolution on mantle flow, flux melting, and fluid transport in the mantle wedge at subduction zones; and investigating the dynamics of the slab impacted by phase transformations in the transition zone.

At this early stage of her career she has already assembled a strong publication record in terms of both quantity and quality. In addition to her research abilities, Ikuko is an exceptional communicator, a fact attested to by the great number of invited and keynote talks that she has given at conferences and workshops over the last few years. While a postdoc, Ikuko has taken on mentoring roles with younger scientists, helping with the minutiae of coding details or reading and commenting on drafts of their papers. By embracing interdisciplinary research, communicating across disciplines, and sharing her time and knowledge mentoring others, Ikuko exemplifies AGU’s vision of promoting discovery in Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity.

—SCOTT D. KING, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.


I am extremely honored to receive this award and grateful to the Tectonophysics section of AGU for its recognition of my efforts and accomplishments. My interest in subduction zone geodynamics sprang from an essay project during my undergraduate studies, and I feel fortunate to have found a field that I am truly excited about and am proud that I have been able to contribute to this important field in geoscience ever since.

For my accomplishments, I owe much gratitude to a number of professors, scientists, and staff members at the University of Victoria and the Pacific Geoscience Centre (PGC), British Columbia, Canada, for their guidance and support during my undergraduate and graduate studies. In particular, I am indebted to my Ph.D. advisor, Kelin Wang, at PGC for his invaluable teaching and boundless inspiration and to Jiangheng He at PGC for his assistance with numerical modeling codes. I am also grateful to my postdoctoral advisors, Mark Behn and Alison Shaw at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Scott King at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, for a number of exciting and fruitful discussions that greatly enriched my postdoctoral research.

I am very fortunate to have so many great mentors and enthusiastic and experienced colleagues around the world. In particular, I am grateful to Peter van Kenken at the University of Michigan for sharing his passion for Earth science and insights on subduction zone geodynamics and to my colleagues at Tohoku University for their support toward my research activities and our collaborative work. The support from my family and friends has also been invaluable to my journey as a scientist.

—IKUKO WADA, International Research Institute of Disaster Science, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan